Character Analysis: A Rose for Emily The focus of my character analysis of A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner will be the title character, Emily. The Emily character is established as the main focus of the story from the very beginning “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). We are led to believe from her description that although she is from a prominent family, Emily does not fit the mold of a southern belle “We had long thought of them as a tableau; Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 38), “So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). Faulkner fulfills the southern gothic characteristic by exaggerating the appearance of Emily throughout the story. It is when the town alderman comes to see Emily about an unpaid tax bill that you get a glimpse into her appearance. “a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). The author when making mention of her size called her obese “Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. ” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). Faulkner makes several mentions about how big Emily’s character is to emphasize her large appearance.
The voice of Emily was very cold and stern. During the visit by the town alderman to try and collect on an overdue tax bill, Emily’s voice was quote “Her voice was dry and cold” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 38). Emily brushed off the alderman when they came to visit her about the tax bill. “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves. ” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). Emily was an emotionless woman. Not even the death of her own father could evoke any emotion from Emily, as was displayed during a visit by neighbors to express their condolences “Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face. (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). The sinister side of Emily was shown during her visit to the druggist. It became clear that she had plans to kill and wanted to make sure that she had the right tool for the job “I want some poison,” she said. “Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I’d recom—” “I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind. ” The druggist named several. “They’ll kill anything up to an elephant. But what you want is—” “Arsenic,” Miss Emily said. “Is that a good one? ” Is . . . arsenic? Yes, ma’am. But what you want—” “I want arsenic. ” (Faulkner, 2010, p. 538). I feel that the author would write in this tradition because it requires your stories to be quite descriptive. Attention to detail is very important when it comes to writing in the southern gothic tradition. You have to be able to transport the reader to a time and place that they may have never been. I reacted to the characters as a person that grew up in a southern family with southern traditions.
I was able to relate to the ways and conversation that went on in the story. Although the time period was not the same as the family members that I was raised around, there are still many similarities that allowed for me to relate to the characters and understand the reasoning behind their actions.
References Faulkner, William, 1930, “A Rose for Emily”, Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays VitalSource eBook for South University